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First tornado warning

Friday, October 03, 2014

Ever since having been relocated here, I have dreaded the possibility of dealing with a tornado.

I grew up in CA so I am just fine with wildfires, landslides, riots, and yes, even earthquakes. I lived for the last 20 years or so in the Northeast so I became accustomed to hurricanes, blizzards, and ice storms.

But this whole death from above thing wigs me right out.

I am well aware that tornadoes can be severe here:

And they briefed us at work about how to prepare for such things.

It doesn't help that in the Delta region the water table is right at the surface so there aren't basements or underground shelters. Either they would leak or they would pop up through the ground. Even the fuel tanks in gas stations have to remain filled to a certain level or they become too light to stay below the ground.

Aboveground shelters do exist but I'm renting the home I live in (the one I own in NY hasn't sold yet) and there would be no way to install one here. There are no city shelters. So the only option is to go into an interior room and hope that's good enough.

So I was not super thrilled when my cell phone started honking at me and I saw the following message pop up:

I grabbed the computer and the phone and their cords and called the cats, and like good little pets they came like they are supposed to, and we all went into the bathroom to wait.

I'd texted the message to my bf who still lives in NY and he called so we talked on the phone while I hunted around for maps and information on the internet to figure out what was going on.

And I was not terribly thrilled to find this predicted track, where there were not one, but two potential tornadoes heading to my location:

So we hunkered down in there and I could faintly hear sirens and then I heard something really loud, and I think it was rain but maybe high winds too because the house creaked a little. About that time there were reports from the municipal airport of 68mph winds.

It got kind of hot in there because it's a tiny bathroom. To kill time I scooped the litter box and cleaned up the dry cat food they scattered around their dish (this is the guest bathroom so the cats own it).

Eventually at 9:45 the internet said the danger had passed but that there would be a watch until 2am. Lovely.

So now I've finally been through the drill. Things to remember for next time:

1) Put the radio in the bathroom and get batteries for it
2) Make sure there's TP for me in there (I usually don't use that toilet)
3) Have some cat treats in there, and protein bars and a couple bottles of water wouldn't hurt

To people who are used to these things I probably sound silly. Especially since I'm thousands of times more likely to get injured or killed driving back and forth to Little Rock than I am by a tornado. But the idea of sitting there in a stuffy little bathroom waiting for it to come and get me still wigs me out.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWYOGA 11/20/2014 1:10AM

    I'm a CA. kid, but now we live in a tornado area, so I know how you feel Near Joplin MO. So I don't care for this weather! emoticon

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SPOKENWORD 11/16/2014 8:59PM

    You sound well prepared! That's great! Stay Safe! I'm praying for more sunny days than storms!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAREN-IS-HERE 10/11/2014 3:38AM

    tornado siren goes on and I'm in the basement! no ifs ands nor buts about it!
I live in Missouri, I even set up a bed in the cellar- because it happens that often- with a weather radio/police scanner and flashlight...just in case

Comment edited on: 10/11/2014 3:40:17 AM

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LE7_1234 10/8/2014 1:13AM

    Doesn't sound silly AT All.

I grew up in the midwest, so I had sort of the opposite reaction when I moved to California. I kept looking for the basement, in case of tornados... Oh, right....

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ARKMOGAL 10/5/2014 10:25AM

    Tornadoes freak me out and I have lived in Central Arkansas a lot of my life...collectively 19 years. They pop up so fast and you can't really predict how bad the weather will be or if it will be you that it hits and destroys your house or whatever.

Sounds like you did great for your tornado!!

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WATERMELLEN 10/3/2014 9:48PM

    I'm tornado survivor and it was terrifying. House was quite severely damaged and I had to rescue child and dog. Others died. Twenty-nine years later I still freak out every time we have a severe storm warning. So no, I don't think you are over-reacting: and I'm very glad you are OK.

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SANDICANE 10/3/2014 8:26PM

    Oh my goodness! How terrifying that must have been... Not one but TWO tornados heading towards you. You did well...really, really well!!! And I'm so glad you're safe....


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LESLIELENORE 10/3/2014 3:03PM

    I would take a blizzard over a tornado! Glad you were okay. That would wig me out too.

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1CRAZYDOG 10/3/2014 1:15PM


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DSHONEYC 10/3/2014 11:20AM

    How frightening, but you remained calm and did what you are suppose to do. Anything here in Southern California pales in retrospect to the Wicked Witch of the West scenario you just painted. Glad you (and the kitties) are safe and even better prepared next time. I bet it won't be as scary cause "fear of the unknown" is the worst!

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DDOORN 10/3/2014 10:30AM

    Whew...! Close call...used to live in the Chicago / SW Michigan area and while I haven't been through a tornado I've had some close calls and have seen the carnage they can wreak!

Glad to hear you're safe!


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GABY1948 10/3/2014 10:05AM

    If you sound SILLY to ANYONE then THEY are nuts! So glad you made it through it all! And even learned a few things to do "next time". Hope there are none!



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WORKNPROGRESS49 10/3/2014 8:26AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 10/3/2014 6:35AM

    scary stuff - we lived in north dakota for a while and within the first few days experienced our first tornado. now it's "just" wildfires and mudslides here in WAÖ sounds like this was a good trial run for you and it looks like some really good advice here in the comments. good luck!

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TORTISE110 10/3/2014 6:28AM

    They are tough storms and I love that you are thinking of making your safe room a bit more human, tp and all!

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MILLEDGE2 10/3/2014 6:21AM

    I, too, am hoping everything has already passed over by the time you read this.

That said, I have lived my while life in the South's tornado belt and in 2011, I "had the privilege of relocating" after a tornado devastated my town. So here are some pointers:

1. Stay calm! Panic isn't going to help you or anyone else.
2. If bad weather is predicted, fill your car's gas tank and check flashlights to be sure batteries are fresh. Get a weather radio and do NOT depend on sirens. Know the difference between a "watch" and a "warning".
3. When you head for that safe place, take some sort of helmet (bicycle or football are okay; if you have a motorcycle helmet, that's even better. Put on your shoes. WEAR A WHISTLE AROUND YOUR NECK.
4. If you need to hunker down in the bathtub (often recommended) do NOT try to protect yourself by putting a mattress or pillow over your head. If the ceiling collapses, you can be uninjured but then suffocate. That's what the helmet is for. The whistle is so that you can be heard if you are caught in debris.
5. Do not EVER become complacent or think it would be a good idea to go outside and video this event. Just go to your safe place, take a device that will keep you updated so you will know when the threat has passed, and hang in there. The good news is that (1) unlike eathquakes, you get advance warning and (2) unlike hurricanes or blizzards, you don't have a to watch and dread for days until you see if it is going to pass you by.
6. Good luck!

Comment edited on: 10/3/2014 6:25:46 AM

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EILEENV3 10/3/2014 6:06AM

    I think tornados are the scariest. I didn't realize until moving to Florida that tornados are part of a hurricane threat. I live in a double wide manufactured home. I can go to a shelter for a hurricane but still worry about tornados. emoticon

I'd add some extra water. Have you thought about a mattress? I've read re using mattress over you to protect from falling debris.

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RASPBERRY56 10/3/2014 5:08AM

    Yikes! Hope you're OK now.......


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NEW-CAZ 10/3/2014 2:56AM

    be safe, take care emoticon

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PRAIRIECROCUS 10/3/2014 1:58AM

    I hope and pray that you will be O.K. !

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Weight Management Superstars! 14 THOUSAND pounds, kept off for almost 800 years!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

None of us here want to lose the weight only to turn around and gain it back. So just getting it off is only part of the battle. KEEPING it off is the real thing, if we really want to reclaim our health and all the other things that come along with weight loss.

So, while it can be really inspirational to see a recent transformation, there are always those depressing statistics looming in the background. Depending on the way a study is done and how maintenance is defined, the statistics look something like this:

- The likelihood of regaining weight when you reach goal is 80% - 95%. +

- When you've maintained for 2 years the likelihood of regain drops to 50%*.

- When you've maintained for 5 years the likelihood of regain drops to 27%*!

+ various studies
* clinical.diabetesjournals.org

With odds like that, itís almost surprising anyone would attempt to lose weight! However, the magic of SparkPeople is that it helps us find others who share the same concerns and experiences. The At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team
( teams.sparkpeople.com/maintai
is all about grappling with what it means to maintain a weight loss, how to prepare for it, and how to manage with the inevitable curveballs life throws at us.

For several years now weíve kept a list of people who volunteer information about their maintenance. This list serves two purposes. First, it lets us know when to acknowledge maintenance anniversaries, and as you can see from the stats above, each year of maintenance signals increased likelihood of continued maintenance. Itís important to celebrate these milestones!

Second, it gives us a list of people we can look to for inspiration and guidance for our own maintenance. All of these folks are actively maintaining and on the site (they have to update their information every year to stay on the list), and they are incredibly generous with advice and support. Just knowing they exist bolsters my confidence that I can stick with it. And their blog posts can be very helpful. Sometimes I really need to hear NELLJONESí no-nonsense advice about how to cope without self-pity, for example.

Collectively this group have lost 14,417 lbs and kept it off for 777 years. There are almost 240 people on this list now - we started three years ago in 2011 with only 71 people. Only 119 folks have dropped by the wayside over the past three years by failing to check in or asking to be removed from the list. (Two of them are having babies!)

So Iíd say that we are doing a pretty good job of beating the odds, right here at SparkPeople with our home-grown tools and mutual support on the team.

Each of these folks is grappling with what maintenance means individually to him or her, and is committed to continuing to refine the skills, tools, and attitude necessary to keep the weight off. One of the best things about the team is that among the 235 folks listed, there are probably 235 individual maintenance strategies. So if you have a problem, chances are that someone in the team has figured out a way around it. All you have to do is ask!

And now having said that, Iíd like to present you with the current list of Weight Management Superstars:

43+ years
NELLJONES (33 lbs)

28+ years
IMAFIT1 (20 lbs)

26+ years
KAYOTIC (65 lbs)

17+ years
VANANDEL (35 lbs)

14+ years
LGREEN521 (18 lbs)

13+ years
JOHN__ (115 lbs)

11+ years
BETH7CAM (34 lbs)

10+ years
LESLIE871948 (200 lbs)

9+ years
HMMILLER007 (40 lbs)
HAPPYSOUL91 (100 lbs)

8+ years

7+ years
JCORYCMA (70 lbs)

6+ years
PEGGYT3 (10 lbs)
KSIGMA1222 (155 lbs)
MYSTERYROSE74 (35 lbs)
FELINA (33 lbs)
NEW-CAZ (34 lbs)
GOLIONS (41 lbs)
DUBINJL (41 lbs)

5+ years
MOOSLADY (59 lbs)
AEHEGE (50 lbs)
MOM5INFL (141 lbs)
KNH771 (130 lbs)
SLENDERELLA61 (82 lbs)
KATIE3908 (30 lbs)

4+ years
BAILEYS7OF9 (23 lbs)
JAN8573 (65 lbs)
LOLA_98CHIC (50 lbs)
ISHIIGIRL (70 lbs)
_LINDA (67 lbs)
LAURIE5658 (25 lbs)
KIM--POSSIBLE (40 lbs)
4A-HEALTHY-BMI (164.1 lbs)
MEXGAL1 (? lbs)
DAWNFIRE72 (30 lbs)
NANCYANNE55 (44 lbs)
LOGOULD (38 lbs)
DAWNDMOORE40 (56 lbs)
SUSIEMT (150 lbs)
PROSPERITY2010 (60 lbs)
AALLEY2 (76 lbs)

3+ years
ROSEWAND (60 lbs)
ANNIEONLI (55 lbs)
ONEWEIGH (37 lbs)
ELLEKTRA (175 lbs)
GISSELLET (70 lbs)
SKIRNIR (55 lbs)
DAKOTACAT (150 lbs)
HAKAPES (50 lbs)
TINASWEEP (95 lbs)
MARYELLEN301 (60 lbs)
MJREIMERS (40 lbs)
UPTOIT59 (15 lbs)
G1NNY7 (30 lbs)
SHAWFAN (130 lbs)
DAISYBELL6 (90 lbs)
MIRAGE727 (100 lbs)
LISAW/3 (55 lbs)
MAREE1953 (25 lbs)
MLB570 (50 lbs)
NAVYMOM133 (55 lbs)
KFH3107 (65 lbs)
HOLLY255255 (35 lbs)
NEWNANCY2012 (70 lbs)
XRAYLADY65 (100 lbs)
JACKIERN (25 lbs)
TUBLADY (190 lbs)
LJBRANDOK (75 lbs)

2+ years
LYNNE114 (20 lbs)
KRISZTA11 (25 lbs)
MAMABUGAZ (60 lbs)
CRYSMYS (50 lbs)
MOBYCARP (59 lbs)
FRENCHTOSD (130 lbs)
AMARILYNH (52 lbs)
KANOE10 (110 lbs)
PRESBESS (51 lbs)
SUNSHINE20113 (33 lbs)
HONEYCAT22000 (60 lbs)
SCOUTMOM715 (100 lbs)
_JODI404 (27 lbs)
MELFOUCH (? lbs)
JESSIHOVER2 (140 lbs)
ANNE403 (? lbs)
MKELLY72 (100 lbs)
DIVIERO968 (168 lbs)
TINAJANE76 (91 lbs)
OOLALA53 (40 lbs)
PCASEY7 (50 lbs)
GLASSART43 (57 lbs)
MARIO432 (101 lbs)
BABARR67 (161 lbs)
LIVIN2LOVE1 (65 lbs)
BEC5060 (100 lbs)
PEZMOM1 (40 lbs)
1LADYMYSTIC (62 lbs)
GETFIT2LIVE (110 lbs)

1+ years
SWEDE_SU (20 lbs)
LCERVERA (34 lbs)
KANSASROSE67 (40 lbs)
TORTISE110 (30 lbs)
MISSB8604 (75 lbs)
MILLIE5522 (37 lbs)
BIGPAWSUP (54 lbs)
FIRECOM (65 lbs)
PRESSINGON3:14 (? lbs)
ASCHU2 (50 lbs)
DAHLIA444444 (? lbs)
THOMASINA57 (20 lbs)
PAM_COOPER (150 lbs)
DALID414 (26 lbs)
LARRI2010 (? lbs)
MOONCHILD8 (43 lbs)
SHERRYLHBB (77.5 lbs)
PLMITCH (92 lbs)
JSTETSER (5 lbs)
KSCHRAUT (85 lbs)
EMARTIN1974 (? lbs)
BESSHAILE (25 lbs)
LRSILVER (27 lbs)
SPARKLINGME176 (51 lbs)
MARF226 (47 lbs)
ELIZABETH5268 (30 lbs)
CHEESER22 (62 lbs)
KIMBERLY_Y (25 lbs)
MARTHA324 (80 lbs)
WENDYANNE61 (20 lbs)
DIANNEMT (40 lbs)
JULENA1 (80 lbs)
JANCARD (85 lbs)
TANYA602 (76 lbs)
CDCSMITH2013 (22 lbs)
KATHIEEM22 (45 lbs)
CRUISEBOUND2014 (50 lbs)
BOPPY_ (126 lbs)
MOMMY445 (30 lbs)
LYNCHD05 (35 lbs)
HOLLYM48 (45 lbs)
FIT4MEIN2013 (138 lbs)
AUNTB63 (60 lbs)
REDCATWHITE45 (18 lbs)
RPCLEM2000 (103 lbs)

Working on the first year
SPARKBJOK (14 lbs)
STR458 (52 lbs)
LGIOWA (50 lbs)
NANADEE44 (35 lbs)
DIDMIS (? lbs)
ABYSTAR (38 lbs)
NANCIER (41 lbs)
MICKEYH (65 lbs)
RAVELGIRLY (100 lbs)
PENNYLANE15 (138 lbs)
KIMPY225 (95 lbs)
SINGINGLADY47 (239 lbs)
MAMMAC66 (127 lbs)
ELIZADUCK (57 lbs)
LORAC67 (21 lbs)
LLTHOMAS1117 (56 lbs)
BANANAMAG (51 lbs)
DONNAEDA (75 lbs)
DDOORN (92 lbs)
LKG9999 (54 lbs)
OHMEMEME (55 lbs)
JEANKNEE (? lbs)
WIFE48 (67 lbs)

You can see more statistics about our maintainers at our teamís Big Page of Links:

If you'd like to join the list, fill in your information here!

Way to go, Team! Hereís to many more years of mutual support in maintenance!

Index of my blog posts:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAMPIAN 12/7/2014 5:14AM

  Great idea. emoticon

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WHITEANGEL4 11/14/2014 10:07PM

    Thanks for the blog. It would be great to make your list

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 10/14/2014 2:34PM

    Awesome blog! Recognized lots of names from the Spark World. Did I miss FANGFACEKITTY on the list? She is a big shero of mine (along with you!)


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DIDMIS 9/13/2014 8:05PM

    DIDMIS you said I am working on my first year. In February of 2006 I weighed 204 pounds after losing 28 pounds before starting Spark and Tops. By November of 2006 Lost 52 pounds reaching my goal weight and becoming district queen thus my crown picture. My last weigh in I weighed 149

Comment edited on: 9/13/2014 8:06:50 PM

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MARYJEANSL 8/27/2014 11:58PM

  Wow! What a great list - awesome!

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MRSRIGS1 8/26/2014 10:58PM


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TUBLADY 8/22/2014 10:29AM

Thank you for listing this fantastic group who are working hard to stay healthy and fit.
I say working for it is work. I am one of these who has lost and am working every day to maintain, and still live a full happy normal life.
There's no magic pills, formula to make living a healthy, fit life a reality.
Just you and the choices you make daily.
Congratulations to all.
Besides the fantastic amount of weight lost and maintained. it's fun to see the most unusual names people use.
Keep on Sparking,
Stay positive, never give up.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CORNERKICK 8/22/2014 1:53AM


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KATIE3908 8/21/2014 12:27PM

    Good job all you superstars out there!!!!

emoticon emoticon


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    I'm so inspired by the ones who've been maintaining for many years! I hope to see my name higher up on the list each year. For now, I'm happy to be included in the "working on my first year" list.

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BOPPY_ 8/20/2014 12:28AM

    It's nice to be recognized.

And, the folks listed above deserve the recognition.

Thank you, Anja!

But as all of us SHOULD know, your body and life give you the best recognition.

Congratulations to all,


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HMMILLER007 8/19/2014 10:22PM

    This is awesome! I'm so proud to be on the list! Only, I should be at about 6 years maintenance - I redid the form, so hopefully it will be right in the future!

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DAWNDMOORE40 8/19/2014 9:51PM

    emoticon Seeing my name on the list only inspires me to keep going each and every day, and to inspire others who are just starting out on this journey! emoticon for sharing your story! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 8/19/2014 2:39PM

    emoticon m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Fabulous work everyone! Nice to see many of my friends on the list who have inspired and supported me on my journey!

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MOMMY445 8/19/2014 12:54PM


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DDOORN 8/19/2014 11:24AM

    Amazing accomplishments! The best part has been hearing about everyone's new & improved lifestyles which have been maintained as well. Lives which are truly lived to the FULLEST!

Viva la SPARK!


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PCASEY7 8/18/2014 6:08PM

    Terrific blog and indicates that anything is possible with a lot of hard work!

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BLONDBIKEGIRL 8/18/2014 2:29PM

    I've been out on vacation and finally have seen this post. I'm in tears I'm so grateful to have this really be my truth. Thank you for honoring my journey time and again... it's absolutely precious to be acknowledged for what I have to do to stay here day in and day out. Sparkpeople is amazeballs. :)

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SUEARNOLD1 8/17/2014 2:01PM

    How emoticon

I hope to be on that list next year!

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NASFKAB 8/17/2014 6:31AM


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TIMEHASCOME56 8/16/2014 12:13AM


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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 8/15/2014 10:22PM

    So proud to be on your list. I'm a little embarrassed however since I recently gained back 32 of those 178 pounds I had kept off for over 2 years. But I'm feeling better since I've lost 14 of those pounds in the last 60 days and am on my way to losing the last 18 pounds to get back to my 150. Happy to have gotten my mojo back and want to be at my goal before the anniversary of the day I started my journey to get healthy--12/14/09.

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STILLMENEWBODY 8/15/2014 10:04PM

    Very inspiring indeed! Thank you for keeping us excited about SP! emoticon

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EMMACORY 8/15/2014 6:57PM

    That is very inspiring. Than you! emoticon

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SLLYONS51 8/15/2014 5:09PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WENDYANNE61 8/15/2014 11:39AM

    Onwards and upwards, Ladies and Gentlemen, I say! We are in this together!

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LOSER_ZIMM 8/15/2014 9:58AM


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WRITERWANNAB 8/15/2014 2:01AM

    Wow! Lots of Super Stars! emoticon

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SNOWYOGA 8/15/2014 12:25AM


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MNABOY 8/15/2014 12:12AM

    Way to go!!!!!!

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_CYNDY55_ 8/14/2014 11:53PM


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JERSEYGIRL24 8/14/2014 11:53PM

    So sorry for the double post.

Comment edited on: 8/14/2014 11:53:56 PM

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ROXYCARIN 8/14/2014 11:44PM


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JERSEYGIRL24 8/14/2014 11:21PM

    This is so cool!!! Thanks for sharing. Special kudos to Nell. 43 years? Many of us aren't even that old (I am, though. LOL).

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SWEDE_SU 8/14/2014 11:14PM

    thank you for this wonderful blog - as of yesterday, i moved up to the two years and the 50% risk. it is so important to have this support on the At Goal and Maintaining team!

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    Great post

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CICELY360 8/14/2014 9:24PM

  Good blog.

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GRANDMABABA 8/14/2014 4:45PM

    Wow! So inspirational!

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AQUAGIRL08 8/14/2014 2:40PM

    Wonderful! We have our own group of experts right here at Spark People! Thanks for sharing!

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LADYGSC 8/14/2014 1:20PM


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SHOAPIE 8/14/2014 12:40PM


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CINDYLOU4782 8/14/2014 10:10AM

    emoticon everyone that is emoticon

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AUNTALICE2 8/14/2014 9:51AM

    I hope to someday be on your list of maintainers! I have a lot of work ahead of but these lists do give me hope!! emoticon

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ATGOALWT 8/14/2014 9:33AM

  What a great message this blog gives. So encouraging to see all the maintainers. I would really like to read more blogs from people who are at maintenance. Thanks for the list. It would be nice if statistically one day the majority of the Spark members are at maintenance and that became the norm around here. Maybe with Spark help we will all beat the odds.


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    Great blog! It is comforting to know there are support systems in place for maintenance.

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SANDRA_E 8/14/2014 7:59AM


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CARRIE1948 8/14/2014 7:58AM

    Someday soon my name will make this list

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TORTISE110 8/14/2014 6:04AM

    Fun! Thank you!

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JIBBIE49 8/14/2014 1:16AM


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ROCKYCPA 8/13/2014 11:04PM


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More paddling Arkansas

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I got back in my whitewater boat on July 4 and spent the last three weekends in it, and some weekdays.

July 4 weekend I went camping with a colleague at a local lake and visited a local whitewater play spot on the way..

Iím the little red dot in this photo.

We paddled on the lake on Saturday

and ran the river down to the playspot on Sunday

The next day I went back there and played again, although no one else was there paddling so I was pretty conservative and worked on back ferries and other skills.

The weekend of July 12 I carpooled with another local boater to a bigger playspot an hour farther away.

Here are some more photos from that spot:

The following Tuesday I was commuting by bike to work and was passed awfully close by a big cement truck. I have a GoPro video camera strapped to the back of my rack, and after reviewing the footage decided to get a mountain bike so I can ride on the grass and gravel instead. That way those jerks will have to actually come off the pavement to run me over.

(Arkansas law says there must be 3 feet when passing someone, including bikes. You can see my reflection in the chrome bumper. That was no 3 feet.)

Last weekend was the best of all - a dad and his twin sons and another crew of three led me down the Cossatot river.
I donít have any photos of that trip, but it was a lot of fun and I was relieved to see that I havenít gotten as rusty as I thought I had. There were some fairly technical class IV drops in that one, given the configuration of the river and the low water levels. Here are some other photos to give you an idea www.americanwhitewater.org/content/R

The scenery was really beautiful on that one. Iíd go back in a heartbeat!

Today Iím having to pass up a whitewater session at the smaller playspot near Little Rock in order to go try out a folding sea kayak in Memphis.
The guy who made the 3-piece Greenland paddle that I took to Antarctica will be picking up some boats from his sisterís house there, and the nearest dealers for those boats are in Wisconsin and southern Florida so this is a good chance for me to see what they are like. It will be fun to meet him finally and also see if these sea kayaks are really as good as they sound from the reviews. They fold into a pack the size of a suitcase. It would be really cool to be able to take a kayak anywhere.

...I've also been contra dancing on Fridays here.

The National Square Dancing Convention was held in Little Rock the weekend of June 27-28-29 so I spent a lot of time there. July 11 I carpooled with some dancing buddies to Memphis. July 18 I danced in Little Rock and then crashed with the family I kayaked with the next day. Last night we had English Country Dancing in Little Rock.

The bike shop is right across the street from the church where we dance so yesterday I dropped in to check on the progress with my new mountain bike. I also get my hair cut next to the dancing church It's a convenient neighborhood.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATHIC2 7/29/2014 8:30AM

  Such cool adventures you have! I commend you for finding your way in a new area!!! And those paddling skills!!! So impressive.

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NEW-CAZ 7/28/2014 5:28AM

    What an amazing time!

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MNABOY 7/27/2014 11:25PM

    AR is a fun place to kayak!

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KANOE10 7/27/2014 8:28AM

    That truck was way too close to you. I am glad you are getting a mountain bike!

So Arkansas does have great kayaking rivers. Your pictures are great!

Contra Dancing also sounds fun.

You have made a very successful transition and move!

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PMRUNNER 7/27/2014 6:05AM

    Love the paddling and other adventures! Thanks for sharing!

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DDOORN 7/26/2014 7:35PM

    Right after air, water, food and sleep come the OTHER ESSENTIALS of life, like moving our bodies in ways that we love: kayaking and dancing in your case!

SO pleased to hear that you've unearthed such wonderful outlets for yourself!



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TRAVELGRRL 7/26/2014 1:53PM

    Proud that you have made such a good transition to Arkansas!

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WATERDIAMONDS 7/26/2014 1:26PM

    What a wonderful time you are having, living the life you want to live. Congratulations on staying so active, and avoiding ridiculous trucks!

Have a great one.

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EILEENV3 7/26/2014 1:13PM

    Wow! I pity the person who tries to keep up with you. You are an inspiration and always impressive.
Sounds like the new location is working out for you.

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BIGPAWSUP 7/26/2014 12:56PM

    Looks like you had a great time.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/26/2014 9:14AM

    Ellen -
In AR they only show license plates in the back. What you're seeing is the headlight. But I do have the truck number and the phone number of the company.

I want to continue commuting though, and I'm not sure it would be smart to turn the driver in. They didn't actually hit me; they just unwisely chose to pass me while there were vehicles in the oncoming lane.

It's very rural and very southern here. There are rumblings that the police department might not be entirely aboveboard.


If I start turning in local drivers of big trucks for hazardous driving I can imagine they could start making my commute a whole lot worse.

Comment edited on: 7/26/2014 9:39:07 AM

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CARRIE1948 7/26/2014 8:44AM

    It sounds like you're having fun, despite your exile

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WATERMELLEN 7/26/2014 8:42AM

    Look at you!!! Such exuberance, such joy!! The transplant is putting down some roots, no? (yeah, I know, more a gardening than a kayaking metaphor!!) Love the idea of that fold-into-a-suitcase version: that would be just the thing for me!!

And: have you considered taking your evidence of that close shave biking to the police? Pretty sure that the licence plate is visible. That guy is a menace . . .

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MTN_KITTEN 7/26/2014 8:37AM


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Paddling in Arkansas

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Some of the most critical boxes have been unpacked, I have a functional kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. My living room is my gym. I haven't really tackled the tv room or the office yet. And there are of course still boxes in all of those rooms (and the garage) that I haven't unpacked yet.

One of the challenges is that the rental house here is about 2/3 the size of my house in NY and even though I got rid of a lot before I came I'm still having trouble shoehorning my things into this place. I have a new "donate" pile and it is growing.

Another is that I work full time so I have to squeeze unpacking into my day in addition to working and exercising, mowing the lawn and shopping, etc. etc. Everything takes longer in a new town because it takes time to find out where things are, etc. Even if it's just navigating a new Walmart, LOL

I took a break from the unpacking to kayak yesterday.

Some mutual acquaintances of VALERIEMAHA suggested signing up for a guided kayak paddle at a local nature preserve because they were going. Here's the flyer about it:

The paddle was only 1.5 miles but it was neat to see cypress trees up close, Prothonotary Warblers, a soft-shelled turtle swimming, and other things I haven't paddled near in NY.

Here's a map of our route:

Afterwards the facility manager for the Education Center showed me the tiny numbered rings she uses for banding hummingbirds.

They have a popular program that lets the public help and learn. Apparently June and July are already filled up. I'll call on Tuesday to find out if there's space in the August one.

Today after church I plan on meeting some cyclists in Little Rock to bike about 15-20 miles along the Rivertrail.

I had hoped to white water kayak at a playspot today, but it's 3 hours from here and I couldn't find anyone online who said they would be there. It wouldn't really be safe to paddle solo on an unfamiliar feature, and if I'm going to drive that far, I want to KNOW I'm kayaking. So that will have to wait for another weekend. :-(

Speaking of lawn mowing I brought my reel mower with me.

The yard with the rental house is small and it's very flat (everywhere is flat here in the Arkansas Delta), so it only takes me about 15 min to do the front and 15 the back. I get more exercise when mowing, it takes up less space, it's quiet, I don't have to buy gas, and it's fun. I've always enjoyed mowing with these. We had one when I was growing up. The trick is to get them sharpened and adjusted when necessary, and spraying with WD-40 after mowing to keep them from rusting.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAMPIAN 10/23/2014 6:43AM

  Hope you're now well settled in. emoticon

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WHITEANGEL4 9/23/2014 4:38PM

    Thanks for sharing and good luck

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LORIVIOLA 8/27/2014 12:20PM

    you've got some interesting things lined up!
have fun!


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THEVOW2013 7/26/2014 7:32AM


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MAYBER 7/11/2014 7:21PM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts
Best wishes

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MRSRIGS1 7/6/2014 3:25PM


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SCULPTAHORSE 7/1/2014 9:19AM

    Loved your blog! emoticon

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MTN_KITTEN 6/29/2014 8:18PM


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NASFKAB 6/25/2014 2:25AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DIAMOND102 6/17/2014 2:32AM

    emoticon You seem to have everything under control. It takes time to settle in to a new place. You are out and enjoying life, being mobile and this is great. Don't rush your self with unpacking, sometimes our moods will get us up and doing the job, stay active and you will get everything done. emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 6/17/2014 1:32AM


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CICELY360 6/16/2014 11:21PM

  good blog

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ROCKYCPA 6/16/2014 10:31PM


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SNOWYOGA 6/16/2014 10:12PM

    I want 1, but I husband said to many rocks in MO. emoticon emoticon

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BIGDOG18 6/16/2014 9:25PM


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BIGDOG18 6/16/2014 9:25PM


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SHOAPIE 6/16/2014 8:59PM


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NEWTINK 6/16/2014 8:54PM


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JSEATTLE 6/16/2014 6:30PM

  Neat to explore new territory! Good luck unpacking, each box a new adventure.

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MARYJEANSL 6/16/2014 5:48PM

  I always liked reel mowers, and I wish I could use one now, but my yard is huge, and it isn't practical. It's nice to know that there are still a few out there, though. I haven't seen anyone using one in years.

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NONNAOF2 6/16/2014 5:04PM

  Getting settled is so much work! Finding new adventures can be so much fun! Enjoy your new place!! :-)

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CHARTHESTAR 6/16/2014 5:02PM

    Plus... the mower is better for the environment.

. looks fun!.

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NEPTUNE1939 6/16/2014 4:30PM


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BLPRETTYGIRL1 6/16/2014 4:19PM

    emoticon emoticon

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COOLRAIN 6/16/2014 3:42PM

    Sounds like you're settling in to your new home wonderfully well. I envy your kayak paddle. I would also love a lawnmower like yours instead of the gas one we have. How neat.

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KENDRACARROLL 6/16/2014 3:17PM

    Good luck at your new home.
Like others have said, boxes can wait.
Getting acquainted and familiar with your new surroundings and finding new like-minded people is a great way to make the new place feel more like home.
Wishing you well.

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SUSIEMT 6/16/2014 2:53PM

    Woo Hoo you! Keep up the good work and thank you for those maintenance challenges. They keep me going.

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PATRICIAANN46 6/16/2014 2:39PM

  It sounds like you are so settled after such a short time. Good for You. The activities in the area seem to suit you fine.

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JUSGETTENBY42 6/16/2014 2:19PM


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JIBBIE49 6/16/2014 2:08PM


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LIVELYGIRL2 6/16/2014 1:30PM

  wow, you've done all that? I hope you love your new area emoticon

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JERICHO1991 6/16/2014 11:34AM

    Good progress getting moved in, and lots of healthy activity!

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DJSHIP46 6/16/2014 11:31AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing!!!

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SHERYLP461 6/16/2014 9:56AM

    As much as I hate to move I think you have found yourself in a wonderful spot! I hope you continue to enjoy your new home.

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TRYINGHARD54 6/16/2014 8:25AM

    moving and packing..yuck, yuck, emoticon

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TINY67 6/16/2014 8:20AM


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STEVIEBEE569 6/16/2014 8:18AM


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PENOWOK 6/16/2014 7:52AM

    Fabulous!! We had a push mower at our last house but left it for the neighbor who loved to use it. You may not be unpacked but it sounds as though you have partially settled. That's more than half the battle!

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WATERDIAMONDS 6/16/2014 7:43AM

    You've got the most important thing at least begun--finding like-minded outdoor activities and folks with whom to share them.

Congrats, and best of luck with the rest of the unpacking.

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CHERYLHURT 6/16/2014 6:59AM


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IDICEM 6/16/2014 6:51AM

  Glad you're settling in so well! Enjoy your new home. P.S. Love the reel mower.

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SHARON7464 6/16/2014 6:41AM

    You sound like adventure woman...I'm impressed about how you've already found a cycling group, have gone kayaking,...the boxes ac wait, life doesn't! emoticon

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SHELTER-PETS 6/16/2014 5:26AM


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SWEDE_SU 6/16/2014 3:57AM

    sounds like a challenge to fit everything in, but it looks like you have your priorities straight! i love the way you are meeting new people in the community through the activities you enjoy.

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TINAJANE76 6/16/2014 2:34AM

    Great to see you getting settled in and hitting the water, Anja! All those boxes will get unpacked eventually, so it's great that you've been able to work in some time for the things you really love. Hopefully I'll be writing a similar blog in a few months, lol!

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MNABOY 6/16/2014 12:33AM

    The Delta also has Crowley's Ridge which can give an invigorating hike up and down the hog's backs, the views are well worth any effort. There should be a lot of water with the rains we've had but it will run off quickly. I, too, enjoy the cypress trees and fishing the stumps is productive too.

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BIGPAWSUP 6/15/2014 3:42PM

    Sounds like things are coming together great!

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WATERMELLEN 6/15/2014 1:26PM

    New job, new church, new house, new venues for kayaking and new experiences in nature . . . and all way more important than mere unpacking of the boxes. Glad you've got your priorities unpacked and sorted out!!

Reel mowers also smell so much better and sound so much better!! (Our yard's too big, but I fondly remember the reel mower of my childhood).

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MAW_OH 6/15/2014 11:03AM

    Glad your doing well in your new home! emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 6/15/2014 10:44AM

    emoticon enjoy!

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Weekend with LESLIELENORE, goodbye NY

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I am being relocated to Arkansas soon for my job, and LESLIELENORE came to visit for the weekend to say "goodbye" and help me get ready for the move.

The cats are always interested in helping with packing.

We did manage to have some fun too, though. Normally when we get together we kayak, but it was a bit cold so we stayed on land this time.

We walked the Ludovico Sculpture Trail in Seneca Falls:

In the past we've paddled by that same sculpture, so it was interesting to see it from a different angle:


We visited a friend's organic farm and got a tour followed by a late lunch with delicious fresh asparagus plus crackers, cheese, salami, and salmon that we brought, and some amazing wine contributed by a friend who is a distributor.

We went English Country Dancing twice, once in Syracuse and once in Rochester:


The pace is more stately than in contra dancing, but it takes a lot more concentration to remember the figures. This was the first time LESLIELENORE had done this kind of dancing, and she was very good at it!

And on the last day we visited Lower Falls in Rochester to see the rain-swollen Genesee River pouring over the lip and coursing toward Lake Ontario:

I'm sad to be leaving NY, but glad that I got a chance to say "goodbye." It looks like I'll see her again briefly when my bf and I drive to my new home, past where she lives in western NY.

I hope I'll have a chance to kayak again with her and her brother someday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MICKEYMAX 7/30/2014 7:08AM


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JERICHO1991 6/16/2014 11:37AM

    Just reading this now, after the update from Arkansas. Sounds like you're settling in well.

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MAW_OH 6/10/2014 10:12PM

    Keep us posted on your move! Good Luck!

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CARRIE1948 6/9/2014 8:35AM

    Looks like fun

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GRATEFUL_BEING 6/4/2014 3:42PM

  I would think those two states are very different worlds :) Good luck.

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TINAJANE76 5/24/2014 10:50AM

    Glad to hear you had such a nice send off with LESLIELENORE. I know your move is causing you some stress, but I hope that you'll have calmer waters ahead.

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CASSIES 5/22/2014 6:46PM

    Oh dear. I always liked knowing you were in Ithaca even though we never connected there.

I wish you the very best as you start your new adventure.

emoticon emoticon

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BIGPAWSUP 5/22/2014 3:11PM

    That is wonderful.

Good luck with move.

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/21/2014 12:29AM

    I went to U of R and loved Letchworth State Park!! These pictures bring back some good memories; thanks for sharing.

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CHERIRIDDELL 5/21/2014 12:25AM

    Awesome photos.I love New York !I have never been to Arkansas but I have met many people in the military from there and I am told it is lovely!

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MNABOY 5/21/2014 12:17AM

    Kayaking on the Buffalo River is popular as well as canoeing.

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TRAVELGRRL 5/20/2014 8:58PM

    Where in Arkansas are you moving? LOTS of hiking here, between the Ozarks & Ouachita Mountains...just sayin'!

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EILEENV3 5/20/2014 3:13PM

    Good luck on the move.
Given the difference in the weather -- you may get more year round kayaking.
When you're looking for people to be active with, look into Meetup.com groups in that area.

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LJOYCE55 5/20/2014 9:00AM

  Congratulations on your new job and I hope you find your new location exciting. Good luck.

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KANOE10 5/20/2014 8:16AM

    Good luck with your move. I am so glad you were able to visit with your Spark kayak friend and enjoy yourself in New York before you left. Cute kitties! I loved your pictures.

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WATERDIAMONDS 5/20/2014 7:53AM

    I wish you the best both in your change of state (and mind!) when you move and in your ability to meet new kayakers and sparkers once you've relocated.

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WATERMELLEN 5/20/2014 7:44AM

    I can "hear" the wistfulness in your words . . . this is a tough move and a dislocating relocation. Wishing you all the best with it "anyhow".

Your cats are very appealing!!

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    Good luck in your move, that's a biggie.

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LESLIELENORE 5/20/2014 4:40AM

    I had a lovely time! Thank you so much. I will see you on next Tuesday.

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NEW-CAZ 5/20/2014 3:19AM

    Good luck in your new job! emoticon

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ALICIA214 5/20/2014 1:01AM


Think of all the lovely new memories who will make, to add to those you already have. Good luck in your new job.. emoticon

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SNOWYOGA 5/20/2014 1:01AM

    It looks like a lot of fun I have never been to New York, but hope to someday! But thanks for sharing your day! emoticon

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